03 MAR 2019
A case of what could have been for Kelly Racing
The Kelly Racing team has endured one of the more frustrating Supercars Championship races in recent times at the Adelaide 500 today.
Castrol ace Rick Kelly had played the long game on his first stint, and was the last to pit. That stop came just as the Safety Car appeared for the first time, and he was set to claim maximum benefit.
The dice did not roll in his favour, though, when Chaz Mostert's crew sent him into the pit lane's fast lane incorrectly. Kelly had no where to go and ploughed into the side of the Mustang, causing a wild incident in pit road.
The crash damaged Kelly's steering and saw him eventually finish 24th (and last).
At the time, Kelly was in front of Tim Slade and matching him for pace. Slade went on to finish fourth ...
Plus Fitness driver Andre Heimgartner was also in line for a top 10 result, however a spin while trying to overtake David Reynolds saw him drop down to 13th place by the end of the race.
Heimgartner was also dealing with a badly blistered finger as he ensured he collected as many championship points as possible.
Team Harvey Norman driver Simona De Silvestro had to fight her way from the tail of the field after a wild spin on the opening lap.
Somehow, she avoided any major incident and was able to press through the field, finishing an encouraging 15th place.
Rookie racer Garry Jacobson was also in the wars, copping a big hit from yesterday's pole sitter Fabian Coulthard. Jacobson recovered and finished the race in 22nd place, ensuring that he left the event with two race finishes from his maiden full-time Supercars event.
The second event on the Supercars Championship will be held in two weeks time at the Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne where the teams will, for the second year, fight for championship points on the Albert Park streets.
#7 Plus Fitness
"It was an interesting race. I had half alright pace, but I unfortunately made a mistake which cost us a top 10 result," said Andre Heimgartner.
"It was a bit annoying. I was trying to get Reynolds for eighth but I got it wrong and dropped back a few places.
"There are some positives, but I'm annoyed that I didn't get the result. It is what it is and we'll press onto the next race."
Simona De Silvestro
#78 Team Harvey Norman
"It was an eventful first lap. Someone was behind me and they gave me a bump and it just launched me through the pack," said Simona De Silvestro.
"It sucked, but we were lucky not to do any damage. I was pirouetting through the pack!
"I tried to get back up to speed, catching the group and I was able to pass a few cars. After my first stop, we struggled on some older tyres. I couldn't really attack, so that was a bit frustrating and we'll have to work on that for the next few rounds.
"It's only the first round. We know where we need to improve so looking forward to the Grand Prix."
"I'm still struggling a lot with speed, but the main thing for me was getting up to speed and building my knowledge bank," said Garry Jacobson.
"The team has been super supportive. I know I can get better, they know I can get better, so I'll just keep working with my engineer to get the most out of it.
"I knew the incident with Fabian was for position. His move was a bit late, for me. I would have moved across if I knew the move was on earlier. I'm sure he has his own view, but he got the PLP (pit lane penalty), so there's not much either of us can do now."
#15 Castrol Racing
"It's one of those things of what could have been, for sure," said Rick Kelly.
"Where Slade finished, (fourth), we were well up the road on him.
"Everyone has a story today and for us, it didn't work. The car was heavily damaged, and even when we got out there, it was still damaged, but at least safe.
"It's disappointing. We worked through so much stuff this weekend to try and improve the balance of the car, and they really delivered for our Castrol car in the race. We were able to move forward, so it's a shame that we came away with a poor result."